New York Times: “Woman Is Arrested In Rape Rumor That Ignited Beijing Protest”

Yuan Liya, 22, of Anhui

The headline says it all, but here’s the story:

The Beijing police say they have arrested a woman for spreading online rumors in connection with the death of a migrant worker that touched off a rare protest in the Chinese capital on Wednesday.

A 28-year-old Beijing woman surnamed Ma was arrested Thursday for writing on Sina Weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like microblog service, that the dead woman had been raped by seven security guards at a clothing market and then jumped from the building.

This Beijing protest on Wednesday.

The victim has been identified as Yuan Liya of Anhui.

The police have said that their investigation found no indication that Ms. Yuan had been drugged, raped or murdered and suggested that her death was a suicide.

“We found no evidence she had been in contact with any strangers before the incident,” Zi Xiangdong, a spokesman for the Beijing police, told the state-run China Daily. “There were also no suspicious signs discovered in checks at the scene or in the autopsy report.”

In a statement posted online, the police said Ms. Yuan’s family had not questioned their assessment.

The police have ruled out homicide. There were early reports about the family not being allowed to look at surveillance footage, but now we wonder whether any footage actually exists. (UPDATE, 5/13, 2:29 pm: police have released edited footage.)

On Friday, that online censorship eased somewhat to allow discussion of the case. Ms. Yuan’s death was a leading topic on Sina Weibo, but suggestions of rape and murder were still being deleted. The trending term “Case of the Anhui girl who fell to her death” was appended with a notice that the police have said her death was not a homicide.


    16 Responses to “New York Times: “Woman Is Arrested In Rape Rumor That Ignited Beijing Protest””

    1. Hubeidave

      Thank you for following up on this and being fast. You have a really great blog.

    2. fdawei

      The young woman in the photo at the top of the page is not identified. Who is she? There should be a caption under the photo with relevant information.

      • btravers33

        Apparently starting rumors about rape is a punishable crime, but actual rape is not.

      • bag-o-dicks

        They can’t do anything about a crime that is not reported no. What would you expect?

          • bag-o-dicks

            Foreign rape victims in China are being imprisoned? Could you post a link to evidence of that happening? I’m looking forward to seeing that link because of course nobody would make a claim like that without proof that they could easily provide. So, in your own time…

            • RhZ

              No one has ever been beaten in China when trying to report a crime? No one has ever ended up in a black jail or even a real jail for trying to seek justice? Oh sorry, that happens all the time.

              Sure, people have no fear in China of going to the local police station and accusing a powerful person or a government official of rape.

              Who is talking about foreign rape victims? You? Because its not me.

        • btravers33

          Not reported because they had two choices: Get immediate medical attention for their injuries or wait 12-36 hours for the rape police. My expectation is that they would be able to get more timely access to the police so they can get treated in a timely manner and be able to seek justice

    3. Ron

      Heads up on this scoop. There’s a rather large protest going on in Beijing 明天第一城. The government is trying to rip up the parks for a 22m wide, 6m deep wastewater open ditch to dump into 清河. Zero consideration for the fact that line 5 pylons are right next to it, and zero consideration for the residents. They came suddenly, no warning, no notice, no explanation, ripped out all the trees and there are now 1000+ residents who have been organized. Cops everywhere. Weibo for 立水桥 or 明天第一城 for more info.